The Living Rite column explores what you will see, hear, taste, touch or smell while at church this weekend.
This third Sunday of Advent is named Gaudete Sunday. Its name is received from the introit for this Sunday which begins with Gaudete in Domino semper (“Rejoice in the Lord Always”).
What will stand out for you when you come to church this Sunday? Many of us might notice that there is a candle lit on the Advent wreath that is not the same color as the other three purple candles. In some parishes, the color of the vestment worn by the priest that day will stand out, because it is pink. And for certain, there will be one or several among us, who will take the opportunity to tease Father about the vestment color.
The church prefers to call the color “rose,” suggesting a vestment color that is a deep shade in the pink family. It is allowed to be worn two times a year, on the third Sunday of Advent, and the fourth Sunday of Lent. During both of these seasons of preparation and penitence these “Rose” Sundays serve as sustenance, mini days of rejoicing, because soon all the good we have been doing will be rewarded by the feast of Christmas or Easter.
Little is written as to when historically this color came into use and, more so, why the color rose was chosen. Most references simply state that rose vestments are outward displays of the church’s anticipation of Christ’s birth and his resurrection. More contemporary articles on Advent direct us to look to nature to answer the question.
What color is splashed across the sky just as darkness fades? It is a beautiful hue of rose. When that color appears in the sky we know that the sun is not far behind. So too with Gaudete Sunday, the church expresses her joy that the Sun of Justice will be born; in fact, his birth is almost here!
By this time in Advent many of us are most likely tired and hassled by our Christmas preparations. Perhaps we feel engulfed by chaos, frustration and annoyances. On this Gaudete Sunday let’s all wear our “rose-colored glasses” to church. The old adage states that one who views the world through rose-colored glasses sees only good things and they are filled with hope, joy, optimism and love.
Let your rose-colored glasses point out the beauty in the liturgy that you might be missing or uplifting words of Scripture that encourage. Perhaps if you don your rose-colored glasses, some of the stress of this season will fade away and you will be able to view those around you with compassion, gentleness, forgiveness and love.
Above all, rejoice this Sunday. Rejoice not because most of your Christmas shopping is done or because the decorations are in place, rather rejoice because in Christ all things are made new. Rejoice, that in a world tainted by darkness and evil, Jesus continues to burst forth as the Light of the World.
Zahorik is pastoral associate at Most Blessed Sacrament Parish, Oshkosh.